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Guest Article - Moving to Australia

The below article was provided by Jennifer Bennet, of A1 Auto Transport

How To Move To Australia: Everything You Need To Know Before Your Move


Looking to move to Australia? Whether you’re working for an Australian or multinational corporation, you’re self-employed, or you’re moving for schooling, we’ve put together a quick guide about what you need to know before your move.


We’ll discuss things like visas and residence permits, restrictions on importing household goods, importing your vehicle and general tips and tricks to make your move easier. Let’s get started now!


Obtaining A Residence Permit In Australia


Before you can move to Australia, you will need a valid residence permit. The type of permit that’s right for you may depend on things like:


  • Your employer
  • Your student status
  • If you’re moving to Australia with an Australian spouse/partner
  • You are engaging in humanitarian work
  • You are interested in becoming a citizen through investment
  • You want to retire in Australia


The Australian visa and residence system is quite complex, and there are dozens of different types and subtypes of visas. For a full overview, we recommend visiting this page from the Australian Office of Home Affairs. You can choose the options that pertain to you, and find out more information about the individual residence permit that might meet your needs.


It’s important to note that most of these residence permits will also eventually allow you to pursue permanent residence. You can get more information about becoming a permanent resident here.


Household Goods Taxes & Duties


If you are moving to Australia for the long-term and you would like to bring your personal effects and household goods with you, you can do so without paying any customs duties or taxes. However, there are a few requirements for this:


  • The goods you bring must be your personal property
  • You must be the owner of the goods and have used them for at least 12 months while living overseas before coming to Australia


In addition, only certain persons qualify for this exemption, including:


  • Migrants taking up permanent residence in Australia for the first time
  • Persons returning to Australia to resume permanent residence
  • Temporary residents
  • Returning Australian citizens
  • Australian citizens residing overseas who are returning to Australia temporarily


Note also that you are able to import inherited goods without paying duties or taxes – as long as you can provide customs authorities with proof that these goods were given to you or willed by the deceased individual.


Finally, some items – like tobacco and alcohol – must have duties and taxes paid on them. Drugs of any kind, firearms and other weapons, articles that are “manufactured from wildlife” and explicit materials may not be imported. You can visit the Australian Customs website for further, updated information.


Required Documents For Household Goods


For your household goods to be processed, you must provide the following:


  • A copy of your passport
  • Form B534 (Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement)
  • An inventory of goods being shipped


Note that your goods may be held for inspection and quarantine, and the processing of your household goods may be subject to delays if any items are found that require quarantine and special treatment.


Motor Vehicle Taxes & Duties


If you are interested in importing a motor vehicle from your home country to Australia, you will have to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval. Not all cars qualify for importing into Australia – to find out if your vehicle qualifies, you can take this online eligibility assessment from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.


In addition, if you are approved, there will be quite a few costs involved with shipping your car to Australia. This may include:


  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Delivery fees
  • Permit application fees
  • Taxes (GST, typically 10% of the value of the car)
  • Customs duties (typically 5% of the value of the car)
  • Cleaning for quarantine purposes
  • Asbestos testing and removal
  • Modification costs to meet local safety standards
  • State/Territory registration and insurance requirements


In addition, if you import a car worth more than $60,316, you will pay a 33% Luxury Car Tax when importing it to Australia.


In many cases, it may be more worthwhile for you to simply sell your car in your home country, and purchase a new vehicle in Australia – particularly if you are from a right-driving country like the United States.


If you are coming from the UK or another left-driving country, importing your vehicle may make more sense for you, but the fees and taxes can still be quite high – so we recommend doing your own research and creating a budget to determine if buying a car in Australia or importing your current vehicle makes more sense for you.


Required Documents For Motor Vehicles


When importing a motor vehicle, you will need the following documents:


  • A Vehicle Import Approval form
  • A copy of the original purchase invoice to prove ownership
  • An import declaration filled out by your moving company or destination agent


Depending on your situation, you may also need to provide additional information, forms and paperwork for importing your vehicle – we recommend consulting this overview of the vehicle importation process for more information.


Our Tips For Making Your Move To Australia Easier


If you’re coming to Australia for work, school or any other reason, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to make the transition easier. Here are a few helpful pieces of advice that are sure to help throughout your move.


  • Bring prescription medications and documentation – If you have prescription medications that you take regularly and you have a supply that you can use while you are in Australia, we recommend bringing them with you. Make sure that they are in the appropriate prescription bottles, and complete with prescription information to ensure they are legal. Failure to provide prescription information when you arrive in Australia could result in the confiscation of your medications – or even potential legal action!

  • Downsize your household goods – The less stuff you bring, the faster it will clear customs – and the less you’ll pay to move it. Consider selling things like furniture, electronics, antiques, and other valuable goods if you’re moving to Australia permanently – and using that money to replace your stuff once you’ve moved. You’ll find that this is often more cost-effective than bringing along your current household goods!

  • Budget properly for your move – Shipping your household goods can be expensive. You may also need to put down 6-8 weeks of rent to secure an apartment or home rental, and you may need to put deposits down for utilities like electricity, gas, and internet.


If you’re moving for school or work, your employer or educational institution should be able to provide you with resources that will help you make your move – so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help!


Know What To Expect When Moving To Australia With This Guide!


We hope this guide has been helpful as you prepare to move to Australia. The “Land Down Under” is gorgeous – but just like any international move, getting here can be complex. So make sure you plan ahead, budget properly for your move, and consult with all relevant authorities while making your transition to becoming a temporary – or permanent – Aussie citizen!